Advisory Speaker: ER Nurse David Buettner


Natalia Maverakis

One of Vista’s great career speakers, Dave Buettner, spoke to students about careers in nursing in November, 2013.

On Wednesday, November 20, emergency department nurse David Buettner spoke during advisory about careers in nursing, informing Vista’s students of what careers in the medical field are like. Approximately 60 students attended the event, according to vice principal Ann Botsford.

“I went because I’m interested in the medical field,” said freshman, Lizzie Liu.

Buettner has worked as a registered nurse (RN) for 22 years, but what compelled him to go into such a field?

Prior to becoming a nurse, Buettner worked as a firefighter/emergency medical technician (EMT) in the mid 80s. He was working for a hospital-based ambulance provider, and wanted to do more with the patients he was serving. However, Buettner also wanted to find a way to raise a family and do more with his career. Having had a mother that was an emergency department nurse for 39 years, Buettner felt it was logical to become an emergency department nurse as well. His mother explained to him that he could easily find a job in nursing after schooling and work three days a week, and have four days off, leaving Buettner plenty of time with his family.

Buettner shared some of his own experiences in the workplace with the audience. One story he shared involved a patient Buettner had cared for who had just committed homicide and injured his hand when his gun jammed. Buettner explained that it was hard to care for him.

One of Buettner’s most intense experiences was when he was sent to the South to aid in the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. He helped house over 4000 people in a convention center and brought in tanks of oxygen. Buettner even triaged– which is to prioritize certain patients to get medical aid– over 400 people there.

As a nurse, Buettner makes sure that his patients are feeling comfortable and advises doctors on how the patients are doing. “I know a little bit about a lot of things,” said Buettner when describing what it was like to work in the emergency department.

Buettner explained that to be a nurse, you have to be very caring and patient with people from all walks of life.

He also pointed out the dedication it takes to work in an ER. “I don’t go home until I’m done,” said Buettner. He went on to explain that if, for example, he has four things to do that day, he will not go home until those four things are done.

Even though there are many fields of nursing, Buettner finds that because he can immediately care for the sick and injured, working in the emergency department is the most rewarding.